May 12, 2014

The "Why We Write" Blog Tour!

I recently joined a wonderful group called The Women of Midlife. I mean, I'm 45 years old. It is time for me to embrace mid life. When I received an invitation to join and spent some time on the group's page, I was hooked.

I have connected with so many fascinating and fabulous people through this group. And through them, was invited to participate in the "Why We Write" blog hop. The purpose is for us to introduce our readers to other bloggers and to share our writing process.

First off, I'd like to thank Virginia Sullivan for introducing me. You can read about her writing process here. And now, it is my turn. There are specific questions I am supposed to answer. Here goes...

How does my writing process work and why do I write what I do?

I have written about my process in detail here before. Rather than rehash it all, I'll let you read that to see HOW I do what I do. It really hasn't changed much, except that since I wrote that post I am a) getting paid more for my writing and b) therefore working against specific deadlines, which does impact the process. But my freelance gigs are mostly short blog posts, so it's not too difficult. The "Share" part involves an editor, who may or may not suggest revisions. But the basic flow is the same.

So WHY do I write? In a nutshell, to borrow the tagline from my website: "I write about my own experiences as a way of connecting with and inspiring others." And, as most writers will tell you, I write because I have to. I am called to it. I am not happy unless I get to spend time at my keyboard. It is not only my passion; it is who I am.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I am a nonfiction writer. Much of what I write about are common life experiences. What I can offer in sharing them is my unique perspective. In many cases, people are able to relate to what I'm writing about and they enjoy knowing they are not alone. In others, readers learn something from my experiences they may be able to apply to their own lives. At the very least, I hope my writing offers something to think about.

One of the ways my work likely differs from many of the members of the Women of Midlife is that I am the mom of a young child. I had my daughter when I was 40. So, while many of the members are farther along in that journey, I am still in the early years of motherhood. And I do enjoy reading about what I have to look forward to!

What are you working on now?

As a freelance writer, my work appears across the web. And, as is common, the jobs come and go. My most steady source of paid work at the moment is the site I also post weekly at The Huffington Post. That is unpaid work, and I simply repost things that have appeared on this blog. I am doing that to build a platform for the project I am currently working on and most passionate about.

I am writing a memoir about my family's experience with dementia. I alluded to this a while back, but have never really shared many details. I have been writing about certain aspects of our experience for some time, but before today, there is part of the story I have never shared publicly.

My father had vascular dementia. Initially following his diagnosis, my mom tried to care for him at home. As the disease progressed, he began to suffer from paranoia. He became convinced she was stealing from him. One evening when extremely agitated, he threw a cookie tin at her, hitting her in the face.

Her injury was minor; she was treated in the ER and released. He was charged with felony battery and locked up in the county jail. A judge put up so many obstacles for his release he was incarcerated for 12 days, even as we worked furiously with a lawyer.

When he was set free, he was so weak he was unable to walk or stand on his own. He had not showered, shaved or brushed his teeth the entire time. We believe he was also not given any of his medications, for his dementia or his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Worst of all, he had no idea where he had been or why. He had no memory of the event, and thought he had been in a psychiatric hospital. He believed we had put him there. To say the situation was, "heartbreaking" does not even begin to cover it.

The next year of our lives was a long, stressful string of crises. The final one being a fall that resulted in Dad shattering his pelvis. He passed away shortly thereafter, at the age of 78.

One in three seniors today will die with some form of dementia. The disease has reached epidemic proportions, yet our society is woefully unprepared. The impact on the American family is immeasurable.

The working title of my memoir is The Descent: One Family's Harrowing Journey Into The Abyss That Is Dementia. I hope by sharing our story I can help build awareness and generate a robust discussion about how we care for those suffering from dementia.

So, there you go. Thank you for stopping by to learn more about me and my writing. Next up is Pia Savage. I was fascinated when I connected with her to learn she writes for Psychology Today. Especially considering the topic of my WIP.

Pia likes to tell stories. A few are very funny. All are well written. She epitomizes "maturity is overrated."

The pinup? Two words: pulp fiction. One more word: noir. Her writing is very influenced by both. Head on over to her blog to learn more about her. And check out these other posts from some awesome group members:

Marci Rich

Jane Gassner

Janie Emaus

Walker Thornton

Lisa Froman

Helene Bludman

Mindy Klapper Trotta

Cathy Chester

Linda Maltz Wolff

Lois Alter Mark

Cheryl Nicholl

Laura Lee

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